From Lateef Dada, Osogbo

The Vice Chancellor of Osun State University, Professor Clement Adebooye, has expressed concerns that universities in Nigeria may soon experience a decline in student enrollment due to mounting pressure from employers.

He also cautioned that if universities neglect professionalism in their administration, students might choose not to attend such institutions due to employers’ concerns about diminishing standards in higher education.

Speaking at the 2nd Annual Registry lecture held at the Osogbo campus of the university, yesterday, Adebooye emphasized that a global trend is emerging where employers exert pressure on recruiting organizations to exclude graduates from certain universities in their selection process.

He said, “In this 21st century and the era of the 4th industrial revolution, professionalism will play a significant role in shaping the future of universities and their ability to attract students. It’s possible that, at some point, certain universities will struggle to attract students. This will occur because employers will introduce criteria that restrict graduates from universities not meeting a specific rank from applying for job positions within their organizations.”

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“This trend is already underway in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Graduates from universities falling below a certain rank might not be shortlisted for interviews, even if they graduate with top honors. Employers will rely on university rankings to determine applicant eligibility.

“In the future, professionalism will likely lead to a transparent and clear selection process for appointing principal officers in universities, including Vice Chancellors. Applicants will need to meet predefined criteria, and if their qualifications do not meet the standards, they won’t proceed with their applications. This transformation may take place over the next 20 to 30 years,” Adebooye said.

A former Registrar of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Ayorinde Ogunruku, who spoke on “Promoting Professionalism and Skill-Based Administration of Universities in Nigeria: Which Way, Whose Place?” stressed the importance of university administrators in upholding the quality and integrity of the education system.

He said, “We must ensure that the entire system operates effectively, from student recruitment to graduation, with a focus on quality assurance. University leaders should also prioritize inclusivity and comprehensive training for all staff members, ensuring that everyone contributes to the development and growth of the university system,” Ogunruku said.

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